Netanyahu rejects United Nations probe into settlements as “hypocritical”

Mar 24, 2012 No Comments by


Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel has reacted angrily to a decision by the United Nations Human Rights Council to launch an international investigation into Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Jerusalem threatened to end cooperation with the Geneva-based UN body. The resolution was introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and co-sponsored by several states including Cuba and Venezuela. Of the 47 council members only the United States voted against the resolution, saying it was “unbalanced”. Several other countries, including the Czech Republic, Italy and Spain, abstained. 36 countries, including Austria, China, Belgium, Norway, Russia and Switzerland, backed the resolution.
The Human Rights Council also condemned Israel’s planned construction of new housing units in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, saying they undermined the peace process and posed a threat to the two-state solution and the creation of a contiguous and independent Palestinian state. A government official said Israel would not “cooperate with a kangaroo court.” The official added, “We are not going to make something illegitimate legitimate.”

The US representative to the council, Charles Blaha, warned it that a fact-finding mission would sap resources and time as well as push the Israelis and Palestinians further apart. He said the US was “deeply troubled by this council’s bias against Israel”. Italy and Spain issued a statement to the council in which they said they believed that settlements were illegal under international law. A fact-finding mission “will not help redress an overall scenario which advocates for, absolutely advocates for, serious negotiations and a clear political will to carry them on,” the statement said. Austria, however, supported the resolution even though it felt the proposal was not flexible enough.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly dismissed the council as a “hypocritical” body which had an in-built “majority against Israel.” He said: “This council ought to be ashamed of itself. Until today, the council has made 91 decisions, 39 of which dealt with Israel, three with Syria and one with Iran. One only had to listen to the Syrian representative speak about human rights at the council on Thursday to understand how detached from reality it is.”
Another proof of its distance from reality, Netanyahu added, was the fact that this week it had facilitated the lecture of a Hamas activist at an NGO side event in a Geneva building of the United Nations. Hamas was an organization whose ideology is based on “the murder of innocents.”

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Friday that he was considering withdrawing the Israeli ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council and severing ties with the body, following its establishment of a fact-finding mission to probe the effects of settlements on Palestinian human rights. Lieberman added that he would convene a meeting to discuss the possibility that Israel will not cooperate with the council in their investigation.
During a meeting with president of Singapore, Tony Tan Keng Yam, Lieberman also said that he would try to persuade countries such as the United States to quit the Human Rights Council.

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About the author

Ron Ross worked as the first Sports Editor at WINTV. In Wollongong. He ran The Hamburger Hut an outreach and discipleship program for youth. He served with Youth With a Mission in Hawaii, Philippines and Australia. He was senior pastor of the Noosa Baptist Church, Queensland for 9 years. He reported news from Jerusalem for five years and is now the Middle East correspondent for United Christian Broadcasters and travels regularly preaching and teaching.
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